Workflows we love: Avid and DaVinci Resolve at Timeline TV

Timeline TV provide coverage for some of the world’s largest sporting events, including Wimbledon, the 2012 Olympics and the Tour de France. Their Timeline North office in MediaCityUK doubles as a base of operations for some ambitious post work, with their first year in MediaCityUK seeing them take on a huge array of work with the BBC, as well as film projects and dubbing work. 

One of the latest projects to go through the facility was ‘Andy Murray: The Man Behind the Racket’, an hour-long documentary for the BBC which chronicled Murray’s run up to Wimbledon 2013. Although Murray picked up injuries during the initial shoot and only returned to competition the day before the project was due to be completed, Timeline TV were able to pull together a final cut in record time thanks to a combination of Avid Symphony, Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve and Avid Pro Tools.

“The Andy Murray documentary was offlined on an Avid Symphony,” explains Eben Clancy, Timeline TV’s Post-Production Director and head of its MediaCityUK facility. “It was due to be onlined in Symphony too, but Andy won Queens the day before the deadline, so we had to extend the offline, which left us with very little time. We sent an AAF of an offline to DaVinci and contracted Chris Packman to grade it – he’s a big DaVinci supporter – while our editor, David Horwell, was still making final tweaks.”

After the final AAF was graded, the project then made a round trip back to Symphony for its final online edit, with a Pro Tools dub being carried out the same way. “Chris managed to grade, render and export an hour long doc in eight hours, which we were seriously impressed by,” says Eben.

His team have been using the same workflow to handle an extremely complex offline for BBC series Fierce Earth. “There are Sapphire effects and time warped shots throughout, plus graphics with nested pictures,” explains Eben, “but we’ve still been able to round trip an Avid AAF through DaVinci and grade every shot, even if we couldn’t always see the final result. The only real issue was the time warped shots. DaVinci could handle shots running at 500% or less, but we had shots running at 5000%. We had to do ‘video mixdowns’ of them and then they all worked smoothly, and we managed to grade seven episodes in two and a half days.

“The main benefit of Avid AAF and round tripping from Symphony to Resolve is that the final sequences came back into Avid with all the Sapphire plug-ins, nested shots etc perfectly in place. The edit was identical to the offline but the pictures being referenced were beautifully graded. Joy!”

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